Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roberto Soon On The Move?


1) The seemingly forever process of moving the maligned All Star Canuck goalie appears to have gained enough momentum.  We are hearing from several well placed sources that resolution to the situation is in the offing. Vancouver GM Mike Gillis is starting to feel the pressure of carrying two goalies with considerable cap hit and is now quite motivated and had reduced his asking price. Originally he wanted "fair market value" in return, but has since "changed his tune", as one agent told us. 

2) Not only is the situation a big distraction for the team, but with the combined cap hit over 11 million for its 2 goalies.   The Canucks are by far the team with the biggest payroll/cap at 69 + million very near the allowed max of 70.2. The problem really kicks in next season when the cap drops to 64 and as of now the Canucks have a projected cap of 60 (For ONLY 14 players!!) Clearly something has to give and alleviating themselves of the 5.3 mil Luongo cap hit would help. The biggest hurdle is the length of the remaining contract.  In order to reduce the cap hit Gillis signed Roberto in 2009 to a 12 year deal that's heavily front loaded.  With the new CBA penalizing teams that have such contracts if the player retires early the demand for Luongo has been scant.

3) Its not to say that there aren't interested teams.  Luongo is still an elite goalie and probably has a good 3-4 years left at that level, but teams that are going to take on that kind of payroll and long term risk aren't also going to want to part with any big assets in return " They'd be dong Gillis a favour", is how a western scout desribed the situation to us last weekend.  Gillis can't expect to much in return.  Additionally, although the Canucks haven't gotten off to a bad start, there are rumblings of discontent from Luongo's heir apparent Cory Schneider. It was a rocky start for Schneider. In his first game as the new starting goaltender for the Canucks against the Anaheim Ducks, Schneider flopped. He was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 14 shots. He has as much as said the goalie situation involving his team mate has been a distraction. Whether that's an excuse to defer criticism for his bad play or legit remains to be seen. Certainly Gillis is in a tight spot here. If he trades Luongo and Schneider flops it will likely cause him his job.

4) As far as potential trading partners. The conventional wisdom in the Canadian hockey media is (naturally) the Maple Leafs. They have 2 young inexperienced goalies in Reimer and Scrivens (who is on a 2 way deal) However, despite the seemingly good fit' from what we have heard the Leafs are cool to bringing in a  veteran, expensive goalie upgrade. The Edmonton rumours are simply a load of poop. No way would the Canucks give the Oilers (a division/conference rival) the "final piece" to their rebuilding process. "Their Patrick Roy" is what a well placed source described it. It aint gonna happen unless the Oilers threw in a Hall, Schultz, or Yakapov. Never, ever, end of story.  If not for the almost equally absurd contact of Ilya Bryzgalov the Flyers would probably have been a good fit, but no way would the Canucks take that on (not to mention Ilya's mental illness. So that leaves us to a destination that would make all parties happy; Florida.  Its Luongo's off season home (where his wife/her family are from. The Panthers haven't been getting good goaltending thus far in T-60, and Roberto would be a good mentor to goalie of the future Jacob Markstrom.  From what we have heard it probably could get done with a 2nd/3rd round pick(s) and a 2nd level prospect.  "Don't be shocked if this is done before the month(February) is done, if not a lot sooner". 

5) Look for our Week 4 picks upcoming Saturday morning. Additionally we are going to put out our "Quarter Pole" post early next week where we Project, the order of finish based upon current records after 12 or so games in the 48 game schedule.  As always, keep it here for all the latest!

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